Mayor plays down abuse over feuding gangs

LIMERICK’S first citizen has played down an incident in which he was verbally abused over his strong criticism of feuding gangs.

Mayor of Limerick Councillor John Gilligan was confronted by up to 10 people when he attended a weekend community event near Ballinacurra Weston.

The area is a well-known base for one of the city’s top gangs. According to witnesses, the people that approached the mayor firmly told him he was not wanted in the area. They also used strong language.

One person, who watched, said: “The mayor looked very stressed by the whole thing.”

A report in the Irish Examiner last Thursday disclosed feuding gangs had planned to send representatives to a peace meeting scheduled for a four-star hotel in the city.

At the time, Mr Gilligan dismissed the purpose of the meeting saying it was an exercise by gangs trying to regulate their trade.

The mayor yesterday declined to divulge details of what had been said to him at the community event on Sunday afternoon. He said the incident was “nothing of consequence”.

He said the exchange had nothing to do with feuding families or gangland crime in Limerick.

Garda Inspector Gerry McNamara of Roxboro Road Station said he was present at the community event for five or six hours and was unaware of Mr Gilligan having any trouble. He said the mayor did not make any complaint to gardaí.

Insp McNamara said he was aware members of feuding gangs had been present at the community event, but was not aware of any harassment being directed at Mayor Gilligan.

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